Is it safe to travel to France? Latest travel advice
The British Foreign Office last week updated its advice on traveling to France, following a week of airport evacuations and bomb threats at tourist sites such as the Palace of Versailles and the Louvre Museum.
Meanwhile, British tourists are preparing for their half-term break on the continent as Storm Babet brings rain and strong winds to the UK. After Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7, the State Department also updated its travel advisory for a number of destinations, including France.
Here’s everything you need to know about traveling to France, including a timeline of recent events, advice from the Foreign Office, evacuations, political protests and your rights if you want to cancel your vacation. What happened in France this month? On October 13, a 20-year-old man stabbed a teacher to death and injured two others in an attack at a school in the town of Arras, northern France.
President Emmanuel Macron called the attack “barbaric Islamic terrorism.” After the attack, France raised the national threat level to the highest level: emergency attack level. This threat level is described as “maximum vigilance and protection in the event of an imminent threat of a terrorist act or immediately following an attack”. On October 14, the Louvre museum and the Palace of Versailles were evacuated after receiving a bomb threat.
Gare de Lyon station in Paris was also evacuated after possible explosives were discovered. On October 16, in Brussels, the capital of neighboring Belgium, two Swedish citizens were shot dead and a third was injured in an attack in the center of Brussels. A man identified as a member of the Islamic State claimed responsibility.
On October 18, eight airports in France were evacuated after receiving attack threats, and the Palace of Versailles was evacuated again. The airports involved are Toulouse, Biarritz, Pau, Nice, Lyon, Lille, Rennes and Nantes. Authorities have since said they believe the warnings were false. “These false warnings are not a joke but a crime,” said French Transport Minister Clément Beaune.
What does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs say? On 19 October, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) updated its advice on evacuations and security checks in France. FCDO advises: “Evacuation of crowded places may take place, especially: airports, public transport stations and stops, tourist attractions, major sports venues, schools, places of worship worship, large shopping center”. “Remain vigilant, prepare for increased security checks and follow the advice of local authorities.”
Regarding terrorism, the FCDO stated: “Terrorist attacks can occur indiscriminately, including in places frequented by foreigners such as shopping centers, entertainment facilities, and events.” culture, public transportation, places of worship… “Methods of attack included stabbings, shootings, bombings and attacks on vehicles. Be vigilant in public places and follow the advice of local French authorities.
See the French FCDO site for the latest advice. Have there been protests in France? Political protests have taken place across France since the Hamas-Israel conflict. On October 12, police used tear gas against pro-Palestinian protesters in Paris. Emmanuel Macron’s interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, had previously banned pro-Palestinian protests, saying they were “likely to disrupt public order”.
What should I do if I want to cancel my trip to France? If you have booked a France holiday package and want to cancel your trip for any reason, contact your tour operator and they will be able to offer you flexibility with alternative dates .
But remember, as the Foreign Office has not issued any advice on traveling to France, there is no guarantee that you will receive a refund nor can you claim money from the company your travel insurance.
If you have booked your flights and accommodation independently and want to cancel your holiday, contact your travel provider as soon as possible to see if you can rearrange your plans. me or not. However, please note that in such circumstances it is highly unlikely that you will receive a full refund.